Fewer babies are being born to teenagers, and c-sections are up.
Those are two of the new facts highlighted by the CDC this week.
The birth rate for U.S. teens 15-19 years fell 6 percent to a record low according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The 2009 birth rate of 39.1 births per 1,000 teens fell from the 2008 rate of 41.5 births per 1,000.
This is the lowest ever recorded in seven decades of tracking teenage childbearing.
The data are based on nearly 100 percent of birth records collected from Rhode Island and the 49 other states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.
Birth rates for younger and older teens and for all race-ethnic groups reached historic lows in 2009.
Teenage pregnancy takes an emotional, physical and financial toll on the mother. Teenage mothers have an increased risk for complications including premature labor, according to HealthCommunities, who estimates nearly one million teenage girls become pregnant each year in the United States. A quarter of teenage mothers have another baby within 2 years.
They go on to say teen moms have a lower annual income, are more likely to drop out of school, are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs, and achieve a lower educational level. As of 2007, their annual estimated cost of teen pregnancies from lost tax revenues, public assistance, child health care, foster care, and involvement with the criminal justice system is about $7 billion.
The CDC says the birth rate for women in their early twenties also fell 7 percent in 2009, the largest decline since 1973. The rates also fell for women in their late twenties and thirties. However, the birth rate for women in their early forties increased in 2009.
The total number of births to unmarried mothers declined in 2009, the first decline since 1997.
The cesarean delivery rate rose to a record high of 32.9 percent in 2009, up just slightly. The cesarean rate has increased every year since 1996, when it was 20.7 percent.
AmericanPregnancy says a cesarean birth happens via an incision in the abdominal wall and uterus rather than through the vagina. There has been a gradual increase in cesarean births over the past 30 years. This means now about 1 in 3 women will experience a cesarean birth.
The report from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics also noted declines in the overall fertility rate. That’s the average number of births a group of women would have over their lifetimes, and the total number of U.S. births.
The general fertility rate fell from 68.6 births per 1,000 females aged 15-44 per year in 2008 to 66.7 in 2009.
The total number of births declined in 2009 and appears to be continuing this year based on early birth counts from January-June.
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